Farewell to people with Oklahoma ties who enjoyed the game day experience:
*Bill Roberts, 86, was an All-State halfback at Wagoner High in 1943. Hitchhiked to Oklahoma City so he could play in the annual All-State Game. Offered a football scholarship to Oklahoma A&M, but he was drafted into the military to serve during World War II. After the war, Roberts played football for Northeastern State in Tahlequah on the G.I. Bill. He supported a young family by working as a custodian and as a door-to-door salesman peddling pots and pans. Coached football and baseball at Muskogee High School, before starting a legal career in the railroad industry. Retired as a district judge in Lawton.
*Former Wright City High School basketball coach Mike Rice died at age 66. Rice had been battling Hodgkin lymphoma. Rice guided Wright City to six state tournament appearances, including two runner-up finishes. The Lumberjax had a 339-163 record during 18 seasons under Rice, who was a 6-foot-6 post player at Southwestern State and Minco High.
*Kent Kennedy of Oklahoma City helped Harding win the city junior high football championship in 1963. He then attended Kemper Military Academy in Boonville, Mo., where he played golf. Kennedy enjoyed the links the rest of his life; a family obituary said one of Kennedy's greatest thrills was playing the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland. The businessman died at age 65.
*Ralph Huddleston, 87, played basketball at Capitol Hill High School under C.B. Speegle and then spent 31 years as a coach. Huddleston was a physical education teacher and basketball coach at Jackson Junior High School in Oklahoma City. A family obituary said during “his 30-plus years as a coach, he changed and touched countless lives.”
*D. Eric Green, 56, of Tulsa coached youth football and basketball. ... Marcene Russell McClain, 70, was the Collinsville High School football homecoming queen in 1959. ... Wendall Baxter, 85, award-winning athlete at Okmulgee High School. ... Oklahoma City native Sean Swindell Grywalski, 42, was a master printer who printed the official T-shirt for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. ... Homer Boyer, 87, managed the Yukon Bowling Alley. ... Robert Collins, 83, was an award-winning golfer who had one ace. ... Marshall Kiefner, 24, was a catcher for the Westmoore baseball team. Also on the drum line for the Jaguars' marching band on Friday nights.
*Blessing Ojene of Oklahoma City is the state standing long jump champion for girls ages 11-12. Ojene jumped 7-feet, 2½ inches recently during a competition at Putnam City Stadium. She is now headed to Hershey, Pa., for the annual Hershey's Track and Field Games. Jumpers from all over the country will participate.
“Blessing is a bright and extremely hardworking young lady. Our entire community of students and teachers is proud of her and excited for the opportunity she has,” said Brett Payne, a fifth-grade teacher at Tulakes Elementary.
*Steve Price, the associate vice president for technology development at Oklahoma State, teamed with Colin Angus for a record-setting performance as the two rowed a 440-mile stretch of Canada's Yukon River in just over two days. Price and Angus, who took turns rowing every two hours, finished in 50 hours and 50 minutes; they set a record for the fastest unsupported (brought their own food and water) journey recorded along the stretch of river.
Angus is a veteran outdoorsman who was named the 2007 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year. He was the first person to circumnavigate the globe by human power.
Price, 62, said the team hit strong headwinds during a 33-mile stretch that set them back 90 minutes.
“At one point, so much water was coming into the boat from waves that we could only just keep up with bailing the water out,” Price said. “In addition, water splashing over the bow soaked our sleeping bag and us, which, when coupled with the wind, made for a cold transit.”
Catching up with: Adarius Bowman
The former Oklahoma State wide receiver has spent the last five seasons in the Canadian Football League. Bowman is currently on injured reserve (knee) but hopes to soon begin a third year with the Edmonton Eskimos. The 6-foot-3, 223-pounder had a breakout year in 2011 with the Eskimos, catching 62 passes for 1,153 yards and four touchdowns. Bowman played in just two games last season before suffering a knee injury. His career stats — which include stops at Saskatchewan and Winnipeg — are 199 catches for 3,272 yards and 16 TDs.
The sports scene 10, 20 and 30 years ago Tuesday:
Four weeks before preseason workouts were scheduled to start, Northwest Classen High School was without a football coaching staff. Due to budget cuts, head coach Kenny Blair and his assistants were fired. ... At the All-Star break, Barry Bonds of San Francisco led baseball with 30 home runs. Other leaders included St. Louis' Albert Pujols with a .368 batting average; Florida's Juan Pierre with 44 steals; and the Chicago Cubs' Kerry Wood with 156 strikeouts.
A year after shattering his left ankle, Denver Broncos running back/receiver Steve Sewell announced his retirement from football. Despite lengthy rehabilitation, the former Oklahoma star was only 80 percent recovered. ... As Troy Aikman recovered from back surgery, the Dallas Cowboys had Hugh Millen quarterbacking the No. 1 offense during the first day of training camp.
Newcomer Dave Tobik retired nine of 10 batters he faced to help the Oklahoma City 89ers beat Iowa 3-2 before 5,242 fans at All Sports Stadium. Tobik, a six-year big league veteran, was pitching in relief for the 89ers after being demoted by the Texas Rangers. ... Steve Howe, who was twice treated for cocaine abuse, was suspended by the Los Angeles Dodgers. The pitcher arrived for a game three hours late — and when he did show up, Howe refused a test to determine his condition to play.